Explore Southern Africa in the style of a bygone era when you board the luxurious Rovos Train from Pretoria in South Africa to the mighty Smoke that Thunders – the Victoria Falls. This three-night adventure begins with the train’s departure from Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria. It then winds its way north through Warmbaths, so named for its mineral waters, and Nylstroom, christened by the Voortrekkers as the source of the Nile River as the town’s river happened to be north flowing. The train then passes the edge of the escarpment and crosses the Tropic of Capricorn en route to the border with Zimbabwe. After formalities at Beitbridge the next morning, the train travels on the BBR line to Bulawayo, second city of Zimbabwe, capital of Matabeleland and industrial capital of the country. The following day sees the train travelling along one of the world’s longest stretches of straight railway line – 114 kilometres – before traversing Hwange National Park, a rich and diverse wildlife sanctuary where animals can be spotted from the train and a game drive excursion is enjoyed. After a service stop at Thompsons Junction, the
sojourn ends at the incomparable Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi River.

Then spend a night at the historic colonial style Victoria Falls Hotel where you can enjoy a delicious high tea overlooking the iconic Victoria Falls Bridge and the spray of the Falls. Then travel by road to the Chobe National Park which is famous for the thousands of Elephants which gather along the life giving waters of the Chobe River. Stay in a safari lodge for two nights, enjoying game drives in the park in search of the big cats such as lions and endangered painted hunting dogs.

Then take to the water aboard the luxurious Zambezi Queen which is moored along the banks of the great Chobe River on the Namibian side of the park. The Zambezi Queen is a 5-star, 42-metre long luxury houseboat offering unparalleled sophistication in one of the most remote locations on the planet. Best of all, as a guest on the vessel, you can enjoy a truly unique and adventurous river safari holiday while still being surrounded by complete comfort and elegance. Enjoy water based game viewing where you get up close to bathing elephants and enjoy spectacular game viewing from the river.

09h30 The train departs Rovos Rail Station in Pretoria.
13h00 Lunch is served in the dining cars as the train travels
north through Warmbaths and Nylstroom.
19h30 Dinner is served en route to the border at Beitbridge.

Pretoria

Founded in 1855 by Marthinus Wessels, the son of a pioneering Voortrekker, Pretoria offers travelers on the African rail tour sensational sightseeing and historical splendor for all to enjoy. Affectionately coined ‘Jacaranda City’, the metropolitan mesmerizes locals and visitors alike with mauve blossoms of the Jacaranda trees lining the streets, parks and gardens and rich history around every corner.

Bestowed the title of Administrative Capital of South Africa in 1910, the proud city of Pretoria preserved this ranking even after South Africa became a Republic in 1961. A bustling CBD welcomes jet-setting businessmen and leisure travelers alike with a hub of rich heritage sites and museums. Travelers looking to delve into the rich history of the original Voortrekkers will find a treasure trove of heritage sights that both celebrate and preserve the Afrikaner history.

Jacaranda Trees and the sweeping Pretoria skyline provide a colorful background for historical attractions such as the Union Buildings, the National Cultural History Museum and the Voortrekker Monument; all of which can be visited by travellers at their own leisure.

07h00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars as the train traverses baobab country towards Bulawayo.
13h00 Lunch is served in the dining cars.
16h30 Tea is served in the lounge and observation cars.
19h30 Dinner is served en route to Mpopoma for overnight.

07h00 Breakfast is served in the dining cars. Depart Mpopoma.
13h00 Lunch is served as the train travels along one of Africa’s longest stretches of straight railway line – 114km.
15h00 Arrive at Kennedy Siding for a game drive at The Hide.
19h30 Dinner en route to Thompsons Junction for overnight.

Passengers aboard the luxury train journey will savour a delicious breakfast and lunch as the train meanders down one of the longest straight stretches of railway line in the world. At 114km, this epic stretch passes directly through the famous Hwange Game Reserve.

Hwange Game Reserve

At roughly 14, 650 square kilometers, the sweeping Hwange Game Reserve is the largest nature park in Zimbabwe and is located approximately one hour South of the mighty Victoria Falls – another world-class attraction awaiting distinguished passengers aboard the African rail tour. While pottering through the incredible game reserve, passengers may catch sight of the abundance of wildlife, including the Big Five, which roam free under the hot African sun.

Hwange Game Reserve is home to an abundance of exquisite wildlife. With just over 100 species of mammals and approximately 400 bird species recorded, the park is also home to one of the largest elephant populations in the world. Passengers aboard Rovo’s Rail can look out for lions which are commonly seen, but it’s the typically elusive leopard and the grand rhino which are the hardest to spot.  Dry game season sees elephants strolling to natural salt-licks where mud holes and sixty man-made waterholes welcome a day of wallowing and provide much-needed water during the parched winter months when everything dries up

07h00 Breakfast until 09h30. Depart Thompsons Junction.
10h00 Arrive at journey’s end in Victoria Falls.

The exquisite Victoria Falls are no doubt one of nature’s greatest revelations. Attracting visitors from far and wide, passengers aboard the Rovos luxury train journey will be able to experience this natural wonder in all its imposing glory.

On par with the Grand Canyon and Mount Everest, the Victoria Falls are seen as some of the world’s most astounding natural feats. While the Victoria Falls are neither the highest nor widest waterfalls in the world, the rolling waters which plummet over the edge of the falls are regarded as the largest body of falling water to grace this earth.

Victoria Falls

On 16 November 1855, David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer made famous in dog-eared history books, is believed to have been the first European to set eyes on the falls. The ground from which he first spotted the natural wonder is now known as ‘Livingstone Island’ in Zambia and is the only land accessible in the middle of the falls. Livingstone named the wonder ‘Victoria Falls’ in honor of Queen Victoria, but the indigenous name of ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ meaning ‘Smoke that Thunders’ is still recognized by the World Heritage List.

The Zambezi River

Passengers aboard Rovos Rail’s African rail tour will be intrigued to know that the thundering mass of water that tumbles so recklessly down the falls cannot be traced back to any rainfall in the area – in fact, the falls are set in a very dry area which fringes on the Kalahari semi-dessert. Instead, it is the Zambezi River – the fourth longest in Africa – which rises in the remote northwestern corner of Zambia, gathering tropical rainfall in Angola and eventually reaching the Victoria Falls in the months of autumn.

The Zambezi River is approximately 2kms wide as it roars above the Falls; it tumbles dramatically over a cliff 1.6kms in length and 108ms deep and compresses the incredible volume of water into a chasm just 50ms wide. The sound is deafening, terrifying even, but the aspect is magnificent and the memory ultimately indelible.

Today you will disembark from the Rovo’s Rail train and taken to the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel where you will be spending the night. You will also go on a guided tour of the Victoria Falls, visit a local craft market where you can purchase a souvenir of your trip. In the afternoon you can enjoy the decadent colonial tradition of high tea on the terrace overlooking the iconic Victoria Falls bridge and the spray of the Falls. Enjoy a traditional African inspired boma dinner with local singing, dancing and interactive drumming.

This morning you will be driven to the Chobe National Park in Botswana where you will be staying in a luxury safari lodge overlooking the Chobe River. Head out on an afternoon sundowner cruise and watch as herds of elephants in the hundreds come down to the water’s edge to drink. The birding is also excellent and buffalo, hippo, lechwe and many antelope can also be seen on the floodplain.

This morning you will head out on an early morning game drive in open safari vehicles in search of prides of lions, leopards and the highly endangered painted hunting dogs. You will return to the hotel where you will savor a delicious lunch. The afternoon is yours to relax, before perhaps enjoying another game drive or afternoon cruise.

This morning you will travel by boat leaving Botswana waters behind and entering Namibia. 

13h00 – 16h00 Estimated Time of Arrival at Kasane Immigration Office (Botswana)

Meet the Zambezi Queen staff at Kasane Immigration Office, who assist you with your luggage

and the immigration process.

Your luggage will be taken by the Zambezi staff to your Zambezi Queen suite. 

Passport Control: Kasane Immigration Office as you are exiting Botswana

Boat Transfer: Kasane Immigration Office – Namibia Immigration Office

Please wear comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen as there is a short walk to the immigration office

Passport Control: Namibia Immigration Office as you are entering Namibia

Boat Transfer: Namibia Immigration Office – Zambezi Queen 

Note: Kasane Immigration Office & Namibia Immigration Office closes at 16h30 thus all passengers

must arrive before 16h00 at Kasane Immigration Office on the Botswana side of the Chobe River

Guests embarking before 14h00 on Zambezi Queen will be served a buffet lunch on board.

Guests embarking after 14h00 on Zambezi Queen will be served snacks on board.

Welcome and Safety Briefing

Enjoy an afternoon sail on either the main vessel or on tender boats (weather dependent)

 19h30 Three-course set-menu Dinner

22h00 Generator shuts down and the inverter system kicks in (only reading lights & LED lighting available)

Enjoy a quiet African night.

06h00 Generator starts up and you are now able to charge your electronic devices

Coffee & Tea available in the dining / lounge area on the upper deck

07h30 Breakfast commences on board the Zambezi Queen

After breakfast you have the option of one of the following activities:

Water based game viewing on tender boat

Or Fishing from fishing boat

Or Local Village Tour in Namibia

Return for lunch on board Zambezi Queen

Rest and Relaxation

Enjoy the pool deck or spend time in the lounge as you view the river and the wildlife around you

In the afternoon you have the option of one of the following activities:

Water based game viewing on tender boat

Or Fishing from fishing boat

19h30 Traditional African dinner on board the Zambezi Queen, including African singing and dancing

Enjoy time relaxing in the lounge with after dinner drinks
22h00 Generator shuts down and the inverter system kicks in (only reading lights & LED lighting available)

Enjoy a quiet African night.

06h00 Generator starts up and you are now able to charge your electronic devices

Coffee & Tea available in the dining / lounge area on the upper deck

07h30 Breakfast on board the Zambezi Queen

Note: Kasane Immigration Office & Namibia Immigration Office opens at 07h30

08h30 – 10h30 Disembarking the Zambezi Queen depending on onward arrangements

Boat Transfer: Zambezi Queen – Namibia Immigration Office

Passport Control: Namibia Immigration Office as you are exiting Namibia

Boat Transfer: Namibia Immigration Office – Kasane Immigration Office

Passport Control: Kasane Immigration Office as you are entering Botswana

You will catch flight around the middle of the day from Kasane.